While out riding on my XC bike today, I encountered an issue with my cleat: The connector between the cleat and the shoe - the part that you screw into - died, and I lost a screw. So I had the shoe attached to the pedal, unable to unclip - because I was able to completely turn the shoe around without the cleat detaching. (The other cleat still worked, and I noticed that I couldn't unclip in a safe enough situation that I avoided biting the dust.)

When I got home, I detached the shoe by turning it around enough times that it unscrewed. (Trying to tighten it by screwing it the other way didn't work.) Unfortunately, now the shoe is detached, leaving the cleat itself still inside the pedal, with a single screw sticking out:

image of cleat stuck in pedal

How do I get the cleat loose?

  • Consider adding a small dab of loctite or superglue to the threads on reassembling, and torque to the suggested value. I've also started carrying a spare bolt/washer in my on-bike kit whereever I have cleats.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 19:22

3 Answers 3


Slacken off any tension adjusting screw first

Your goal is to apply torque to the cleat as you would with your foot in a shoe. So essentially you need something like a gigantic flat screwdriver. I have a mini crowbar that would do the job, for example, but if you have any metal tyre levers they might be big enough.

  • 7
    Just want to add: counting the turns as you release the tensioning screw is the easiest way to get it properly tensioned once you've extracted the cleat.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 19:44

Use water-pump-pliers or locking pliers (vise-grip). Grip the cleat and turn it either clock-wise or anti-clock-wise

Alternatively a medium sized screwdriver used as a lever at the rear 'nose' of the cleat will pop it out. Mind fingers and eyes, though! It might be a good idea for both methods to reduce the spring tension of the pedal by turning the adjustment screw as far to the '-' sign as possible with a hex key.


Other answers are good, but I'll add these possible options if you're short of the tools they require:

  • Use an appropriately sized punch or drift and tap the cleat out with a hammer. Hit the back but from the side, you need to be pretty handy but a quick blow in just the right spot should do it. If you can't figure out what I mean, then it's best you don't try it.

  • Unscrew the Phillip's CSK screws and see what happens. As the cleat is under compression, the front bit might pop off with a wee bit of gusto at some point. If you see any coloured residue on the threads of those screws afterwards that is some kind of threadlock, best apply the same when you reinstall them.

An amount of lubricant around the rear of the cleat would likely help in most of these discussed cases.

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    I wouldn't take the pedal apart. The springs are under considerable load.
    – Carel
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 12:28
  • 2
    Looking at a diagram of a similar pedal, it doesn't appear that the "toe plate" (4 on diagram) has anything to do with the springs. It looks like it could be easily removed and re-attached. Not completely sure though, maybe someone with more experience could chime in.
    – Kibbee
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 13:03
  • 1
    IIRC the spring on the other side of the pedal pushes against the pedal itself - in that case, the toe plate is under no load will be easy to remove & replace. Just check it visually, you should be able to see it
    – Useless
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 13:18
  • The screws are certainly not Philips headed but JIS screws. They don't look like Philips. As far as I know, Shimano never used Philips.
    – gschenk
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 20:04
  • @gschenk, ok, feel free to edit the answer and advise the requirement for a JIS driver. Meanwhile, some people may make do with Phillips in its absence. Commented May 30, 2019 at 22:25

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